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Japanese city cuts ties with cosmetic firm over anti-Korean website post

In this June 3, 2021 photo, people are seen holding a banner to protest DHC Corp.'s anti-Korean post on its website in front of the company headquarters in Tokyo's Minato Ward. (Mainichi/Harumi Kimoto)

SHIMOTSUMA, Ibaraki -- A city government in east Japan announced on June 14 that it will revoke its comprehensive partnership agreement with cosmetics firm DHC Corp. over a post on the company's website that discriminated against Korean people living in Japan.

    The Shimotsuma Municipal Government in Ibaraki Prefecture commented on the decision, "From the city's perspective where we respect human rights, we cannot tolerate DHC's failure to publish the company's official position (on the website post)." The municipal government sent out a notice of partnership dissolution to the firm on June 14, and based on the agreement, the two-party partnership will be canceled on July 15.

    The post was published on DHC's website under Chairman and CEO Yoshiaki Yoshida's name, and was deleted at the end of May. On June 1, the Shimotsuma government requested that DHC make it public whether the post represents the company's position.

    According to the city, while DHC replied to the municipal government on the phone and via email, stating, "As a company, it was an inappropriate post regarding human rights," it didn't respond to the city's request for making its position public. The municipal government subsequently decided to sever ties with the firm.

    The city and DHC signed into the agreement in October 2019. The municipal government was planning to launch a health promotion project from this July in which the city was to offer its residents DHC's supplement to help eradicate metabolic syndrome, but the project has been canceled amid the issues including the website post.

    In response to an inquiry by the Mainichi Shimbun, DHC wrote in an email, "We have nothing to comment on decisions made by a local government."

    (Japanese original by Shinichi Anmi, Koga Local Bureau)

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